Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Compelling characters take us to hell and back

Festival director Graeme Farrow tried to bring Mark O'Rowe's award-winning Terminus to Belfast last year. His determination has finally paid off — and now we can see why the play has been the Abbey’s most successful production of the last five years.

O’Rowe’s fizzing, whirling drama brings together three characters to tell of the events of one night in Dublin.

Although they address the audience, their monologues — and eventually their lives — overlap as they describe the dark, slimy underbelly of Ireland’s Fair City — the world outside the pool of lamplight, where love turns to lust, violence is random and vicious, and the skies are dark with demons and angels.

The script is set in verse, and brims with wordplay — combining the verbal dexterity of Dylan Thomas with the pace of Enda Walsh. Imagine a collaboration between James Joyce and Dizzee Rascal. No, really!

The play’s characters — known only as A, B and C — take us to hell and back through O’Rowe’s vivid word pictures.

Andrea Irvine is mesmerising as a lonely woman seeking reconciliation with her estranged daughter. Eileen Walsh is the girl whose mother betrayed her. Karl Shiels has done a deal with the devil in his search for love.

All three souls have lost their way.

Performed within Jon Bausor’s set of a picture frame, pierced with shards of glass, the characters race towards their terminus in what is a grotesque and gripping piece of utterly compelling, extraordinary theatre.

Poetry is delivered via rollercoaster.

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